01 December 2009

Colonial chauvinism

From a discussion of the hard-living New Zealand Fencibles, a collection of retired military personnel who arrived from 1847 to 1852 to help defend the young colony:

...[A] concomitant of the legendary Irish fondness for alcohol and fighting was the sense of humour, very often chauvinist in tone. The 'Wanted' column on a page from the Pensioners' Gazette posted on the wall of one of the rebuilt Fencible houses at Howick carried as an advertisement: 'A wife, with fine points, pretty fetlocks, small muzzle, sound in wind and warranted free from vice'. An item in the 'Marriages Births and Deaths' column mentioned that a Panmure lady 'well known for her beauty and accomplishments is rumoured to be about to be married to fourteen different gentlemen. As soon as we can find out the favoured gentlemen we will chuckle over the knowledge and keep it to ourselves'.

- Quoted in Gordon McLauchlan, The Life and Times of Auckland, Auckland, 2008, p.119-120.

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